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Cities, Towns, and the County

Cities, Towns, and the County

While our sustainability challenges are global in scale, local governments, with the support of residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations, play a key role in tackling these issues and in carrying out laws made at the federal and state levels. The actions of local governments impact everything from land use patterns and resource management to climate change and the delivery of social services.

Each year, SSMC surveys the cities, towns, and unincorporated San Mateo County to find out what they are doing to create a more sustainable region. This year the questions focused on the Key Indicator: Food Systems.


Cities at a Glance

City Survey Summary 2016

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Atherton

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

Atherton is working on revisions to the Municipal Code to allow backyard chickens.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Provided via the Town’s Sustainability website are programs and resources that residents can avail themselves of in an effort to join the Town in meeting and exceeding its sustainability targets. These include:

Survey – Atherton

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Belmont

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

A healthy snacks program was developed at a community pre-school to ensure better food for participants and a lunch program at the Twin Pines Senior and Community Center provides healthy balanced meals three times a week.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The bread program at the Twin Pines Senior and Community Center provides low cost bread and bakery items to seniors.

The City is exploring the potential for a weekday farmers market as well as additional community gardens in parks. These projects face the normal challenges- time and funding.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Major energy reduction project including new LED streetlights, new lighting in City facilities, and energy reduction measures in City Hall and Library.

Survey – Belmont

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Brisbane

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

Brisbane has adopted San Mateo County’s Plastic bag and Polystyrene ban ordinances. Outreach from both the County and Brisbane was done when the ordinances were adopted. Non-compliant restaurants are reported to the county.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

An annual holiday season canned food drive is held at City Hall. The food is distributed to local families. The Open Space and Ecology committee suggested a sorting steward at local events to help attendees sort compost, trash and recycling correctly. Events typically occur in the summer, and volunteers/staffing has not been determined.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Brisbane’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was adopted late last year, along with the CAP the Climate-friendly Purchasing Guide (CFPG) was developed and adopted and placed in the indices of the CAP. One of the goals of the CFPG is to reduce the amount of single use utensils and plates at public events, city hall and other Brisbane municipal buildings. The CAP also includes a measure to implement food scrap composting in municipal facilities and encourage/educate the public about food scrap composting at schools and businesses.

Council accepted the Baylands Sustainability Framework in November of 2015, which will inform any future development on the Brisbane Baylands to follow ten One Planet Principles: Zero carbon buildings, Zero waste, Sustainable transportation, Local and sustainable materials, Local and sustainable food, Sustainable water, Open space and habitat, Culture and heritage, and Economic vitality with equity & ecology, and Recreation, health, safety & happiness.

Survey – Brisbane

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Burlingame

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

Burlingame has food related info on our sustainability webpage including meatless Mondays, healthy eating tips, and reducing food waste

Survey – Burlingame

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Colma

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

The Town of Colma was one of the first jurisdictions in the state to adopt an enabling ordinance for the state Cottage Food law, which allows for use of a home kitchen for food production.

The Town of Colma encourages agricultural use of lands in the town. The Town has several agricultural operations that produce flowers for local florists and cemeteries.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The Town of Colma provides annual financial support to the North Peninsula Food Pantry. Members of the community also provide volunteer service to this organization.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

The Town recently added two PACE providers, HERO and Figtree. The Town also joined the Peninsula Clean Energy JPA.

Based on the Town’s work to promote energy saving programs and rebates with PG&E, Right Lights and San Mateo County Energy Watch, the Town has significantly reduced GHG through lower energy use. As a result of this reduction, the Town received four Beacon Spotlight Awards for Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions, Agency Energy Savings, Natural Gas Savings, and Sustainability Best Practices. The award levels were as follows:

  • Community GHG Reductions: Gold Level- 11% reductions
  • Agency Energy Savings: Platinum level, 29% reductions
  • Natural Gas Savings: Platinum level, 22% reductions
  • Sustainability Best Practices: Platinum level

Survey – Colma

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Daly City

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

Nonprofits have traditionally operated in this space. Since the City does not have a health or human services department, like a County government would, it has not been very proactive about the food system.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The City run and support food banks. The Daly City Partnership provides family food bank days. The North Peninsula Food Pantry and Dining Center operates in Daly City. The City operates an emergency food bank. The Library & Recreation Department also serves meals.

The Bayshore neighborhood (near Cow Palace) is considered a food desert. While we have no formal policies to address the food desert, the City is always looking for a business to open there. None have been interested. We do operate the free Bayshore shuttle that can be used to access other areas of Daly City, including Serramonte Shopping Center (where there are healthy food options, like a new Sprouts grocery store). The shuttle is funded with a SamTrans grant.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Daly City launched citywide curbside pickup of organic waste for composting in February 2016, in order to divert organic waste from the landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Daly City joined Peninsula Clean Energy in February 2016.

Survey – Daly City

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East Palo Alto

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

East Palo Alto has been described as the kernel of affordability in the sea of affluence. Due to the low income status of many residents in East Palo Alto, many outside forces such as the Second Harvest Food Bank have come to the City and set up programs to provide food stability at the Senior Center, the local schools, churches and Ecumenical Hunger Program. This helps to provide food to the community so the City can focus on encouraging training and improved education so that the residents have more opportunity for higher paying jobs. Due to the low number of jobs available to the residents, there is an effort to increase development in sectors that will provide higher paying jobs to residents.

The City does work with residents to promote healthy foods, with a Facebook page that is dedicated to Community and Environmental Health, there are tips about healthy options and organic products listed, along with information about toxicity of pesticides and herbicides.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The former Economic Development department recruited a grocery store that has healthy foods. There has been an effort to encourage fresh fruits and veggies at the corner stores, and largely there are healthy options available at about half of these. There are a large number of food banks that offer healthy foods, but many times this food is left behind due to being perishable and less convenient.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

The City is part of the Peninsula Clean Energy JPA, which is important for sustainability. The City is also included as a community of significance in the Sea Level Rise and Safer Bay initiatives due to the severe impact these issues will have on the community. The City is working on substantial transportation projects that will enable the community to walk and bike more readily with a new Pedestrian Overcrossing and linking the community, with SamTrans bus routes that serve the entire community, in the coming months and otherwise increasing public transportation options. If the Dumbarton rail update or other public improvements move forward, the City will be well poised to have congestion relief—as University Avenue and East Bayshore provide substantial residential vehicular traffic, which may have an impact of residential respiratory problems.

Survey – East Palo Alto

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Foster City

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

Foster City has contributed to the Second Harvest Food Bank through its non-profit funding program. As a planned community, every residential neighborhood is planned around walking distance shopping areas.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Foster City recently adopted a Climate Action Plan; the implementation workplan and associated funding will be included in the FY 2016-17 budget.

Foster City was recently recognized for its efforts in sustainability with several Beacon Awards by the Institute for Local Government (http://www.fostercity.org/pressreleases/PRBeaconAward2015.cfm). Many of Foster City’s efforts in the area of Environmental Sustainability are listed on our website: http://www.fostercity.org/projectsandinitiatives/green-policies-and-practices.cfm.

Survey – Foster City

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Half Moon Bay

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

The City will be evaluating opportunities for a community garden. In updating our local coastal plan we anticipate policies that reinforce agriculture uses in our community.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The City provides space for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank to host their monthly food bank. The City also supports a free breakfast for the homeless and unemployed residents in our community. The City is a member of the Library JPA which hosts a lunch program. The City also supports local food banks and the Coastside Farmers Market.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Electric Vehicle Charging station outside City Hall and at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. LED streetlight conversion to several streetlights.

Survey – Half Moon Bay

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Hillsborough

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

No retail food vendor, school cafeteria, private club, or fundraising event located or doing business in the Town of Hillsborough shall purchase, obtain, keep, sell, distribute or provide to customers or otherwise use in its business, any chlorofluorocarbon‐processed food packaging. The Town shall not purchase any chlorofluorocarbon‐processed food packaging.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Hillsborough has implemented many sustainable city programs for a small residential community. Most pressingly, the Town’s response to the State’s drought emergency has resulted in a 42% reduction in water use by the Town in water year 2015 as compared to water year 2016.

Survey – Hillsborough

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Menlo Park

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The City collaborates with the Menlo Park Rotary on the Belle Haven Community Garden that offers regular workshops to residents on sustainable gardening practices. Community Services Department works with Second Harvest weekly and monthly for healthy produce distribution as part of the Senior Center’s Brown Bag Program and Onetta Harris Community Center community distribution. The City has two Farmers Markets, one in Downtown Menlo Park between Santa Cruz Ave & Menlo Ave next to Trader Joes, and the second located in the Belle Haven area of Menlo Park on Facebook parking lot.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

On March 23, 2016 the City of Menlo Park received a Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award. Menlo Park named as 2016 Business Environmental Award finalist. In December 2015, the City completed solar installations at four of its facilities.

Beginning with a workshop in December 2015, the City teamed up with Menlo Spark, Facebook, and the nonprofit, GRID Alternatives to provide free solar panels to 10 residences in Belle Haven. Variable frequency drive systems installed in Burgess Park and Belle Haven Park pools. New chillers and variable frequency drive systems installed in Administration Building and Library. New energy monitoring system installed in Administration building and Library. Electric vehicle charger installations for Civic Center and downtown Parking Plaza 2 (in progress for 2016). City Council approves of Caltrain GoPass for city staff. New zoning ordinances include green sustainable building requirements (in 2017).

Survey – Menlo Park

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Millbrae

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

Every week groceries are provided to seniors at the Senior Center from the Second Harvest Food Bank. In addition, leftover bread and pastries from Safeway are distributed at the Community Center every Wednesday and is available to anyone for a donation of $0.25 a loaf. The City has promoted the CalFresh Program through distribution of information/handouts at the Health & Wellness Faire and at public facilities.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

The City has a number of sustainable programs in place, including comprehensive waste reduction and recycling, water conservation, and climate protection programs. A large focus in the last year has been on the drought and implementing the regulations, and on conserving water.

The City of Millbrae won three sustainability awards in 2015, the Beacon Awards: Local Leadership Toward Solving Climate Change which is sponsored by the Institute for Local Government and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. The Beacon Awards Program is a statewide program recognizing California cities and counties that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and adopt policies and programs that promote sustainability.

Millbrae received the following sustainability awards: a Silver Spotlight Award for 5% community GHG reductions, a Platinum Spotlight Award for 42% agency energy savings, and a Platinum Spotlight Award for sustainability best practices in a variety of categories, including Energy Efficiency & Conservation Activity, Water and Wastewater Systems Activity, Green Building Activity, Waste Reduction and Recycling Activity, Climate-Friendly Purchasing Activity, Renewable Energy and Low-Carbon Fuels Activity, Efficient Transportation Activity, Land Use and Community Design Activity, Open Space and Offsetting Carbon Emissions Activity, Community and Individual Action Activity.

Survey – Millbrae

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Pacifica

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

North County Fire Authority (NCFA) Newsletter and Seniors in Action Newsletter (a program offered within the City’s Parks, Beaches and Recreation Dept.) includes information on healthy eating.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

City of Pacifica provides funding to support Pacifica Resource Center, which offers programs to address access to healthy food for residents. The City offers a Meals on Wheels program and a congregate Senior Lunch Program. Second Harvest program is active at the Pacifica Resource Center and First Baptist Church.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

The City of Pacifica has implemented the following programs / practices / projects that may be of interest to an Indicators Report: Recycled Water; solar energy at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and City Council Chambers; recycling of solids; medicine drop off.

The City of Pacifica has implemented the following projects and practices that showcase progress towards sustainability:

  • Pollution prevention educational outreach (e.g. “Don’t Flush…”)
  • Installation of trash capture devices
  • Discussions on Rent Stabilization / Advisory and Affordable Housing issues
  • Planning of Palmetto Avenue Streetscape with walkability in mind
  • Installation of lighted crosswalks to improve walking safety to schools
  • Signal timing coordination on Highway 1 for smoother traffic flow
  • City of Pacifica purchase of privately owned land to complete the Coastal Trail
  • Promotes Bike to Work Day and sponsors / staffs energizer station for the event
  • Conversion of paper newsletters to electronic format / delivery

Survey – Pacifica

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Portola Valley

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

The Town’s main effort in this area has been in supporting the weekly farmers’ market and encouraging instructors to host classes in the Community Hall. In addition, at our Earth Fair on Saturday, April 23rd, we launched a community-wide food waste challenge using the EPA’s Food Too Good to Waste program.

There has been some interest from the community in starting a community garden, but it is a competing use with values around keeping the Town’s open space natural.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

To assist residents in meeting the State’s 36% water use reduction requirement, the Town engaged High Energy Analytics (HEA) to design a water analysis tool. The goal was to capture residents’ attention while they were focused on the drought to help them take actions that would result in long term, persistent savings. The HEA program fosters engagement through an interactive platform, which is enter some data, learn something, receive recommendations. Town staff and Water Conservation Committee members worked with HEA to develop and refine the water analysis tool to be ready to launch with the July 2015 release of the first water bills to include surcharges. On July 23, 2015, the committee successfully branded and launched the water analysis tool as the H2Oknow Tool. Below are key features of the tool:

  • Pulls in billing data from CalWater using customer account #
  • Pulls in house/property data from Zillow
  • Conducts rough assessment of Indoor vs Outdoor Use
  • Provides info on water use and water budget
  • Asks additional questions about appliances and characteristics of home, yard & irrigation practices
  • Creates a list of top 3 recommendations

In addition to analyzing a resident’s water use online, users of the H2Oknow Tool also receive a monthly email that gives feedback on their progress. Consistent feedback has proven very effective in creating persistent savings. The Town’s efforts in creating and utilizing the H2Oknow Tool as a vehicle for educating residents about their water use has resulted in the town as a whole meeting its 36% reduction requirement 6 out of the last 7 months and in a cumulative reduction of 41% from June to December 2015. In addition to the water savings, these efforts have resulted in an easy-to-use, replicable tool that could be utilized by other jurisdictions or organizations.

Survey – Portola Valley

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Redwood City

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

Redwood City’s commitment is to build a healthier community, recognizing the benefits resulting from more compact urban forms; ready access to jobs, transit, and parks; housing choices for all income groups; and respect for diminishing environmental resources. The Smart Growth development patterns help improve access to healthy food.

The Fair Oaks Community Center is a multi‐service facility offering many services to the broader Redwood City community. It provides extraordinary support to residents of the Fair Oaks neighborhood. A combination of City staff and representatives from public and private nonprofit agencies run multi‐lingual programs providing child care and preschool care, crisis intervention, education, emergency food, shelter, holiday food and toy/book programs, housing assistance, immigration and citizenship services, employment and housing legal services, senior services, and translation assistance. Also under the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services (PRCS) Department, the Veterans Memorial Senior Center provides a Nutrition Program for Seniors.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Housing

Since 2011, the City of Redwood City has eased certain restrictions in the Downtown area to help promote residential development and add to the City’s housing stock. More recently, the City passed two substantive ordinances that seek to help encourage the development of affordable housing units and add to the housing stock.

The City Council passed the Ordinance Requiring Affordable Housing Impact Fees that either encourage developers to build affordable housing in their housing developments or collects fees towards the creation of new homes for lower income residents. The second policy to pass was to Amend the Municipal Code relating to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) allowing for more flexibility in the existing ordinance in order to help encourage the development of more housing units in the City.

Peninsula Clean Energy

The City is moving forward with Peninsula Clean Energy, a countywide Community Choice Energy program designed to reduce the carbon content of our electricity supply.

Water Conservation and Recycled Water Program

Redwood City’s comprehensive water conservation program provides information, education, and updates to residents and the public, with online information about Programs & Giveaways, Education, Helpful Links & Tips, Drought Updates, and a list of the City’s Efforts to Conserve Water. In June, 2015 the City Council of Redwood City implemented mandatory water use restrictions in compliance with State Water Resources Control Board regulations.

Survey – Redwood City

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San Bruno

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

San Bruno’s sustainability measures related to food have been more related to environmental protections than accessibility. Ordinances have been enacted to ban the use of Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags. The City also partners with its franchise waste hauler, Recology, to offer programs and education on organics recycling and composting.

The City typically monitors County and other City activity in terms of sustainability measures. Often times the main challenge in moving ordinances forward are staffing limitations and prioritization of critical and time sensitive projects.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

The City is working with Recology on compliance with AB 1826’s Mandatory Organics Recycling requirements, as well as continued programs with Mandatory Commercial Recycling.

The City is also close to finalizing a Climate Action Plan that will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2020.

This summer, the City will adopt a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (Walk n’ Bike Plan) that will promote active transportation in the community and reduce vehicle trips.

The City will also be completing a streetlight replacement project that converted approximately 2,100 High Pressure Sodium light-bulbs to energy efficient LEDs.

Survey – San Bruno

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San Carlos

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

  • Considering installing level II and level III electric vehicle charging stations in the City Hall underground parking lot.
  • Hosted the City’s first Earth Day event on April 30th.
  • Giving away free rain barrels and providing educational materials for the benefits of rainwater harvesting and reusing graywater.

Providing guides or continuing to provide guides describing the various best practices related to sustainability initiatives and projects that have been adopted by other Bay Area jurisdictions. Also, providing staff with resources for how to interpret new rules and regulations.

Survey – San Carlos

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San Mateo

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

The City of San Mateo’s Community Development Department helps fund our local Samaritan House’s CORE – Core Services Program that includes “Access Healthy Food” programs for lower income households in San Mateo. The funding comes from a program application submitted by the Samaritan House to use CDBG funds to help with a proportion of its budget and serves nearly 2,600 residents here in San Mateo. The program helps families and individuals living in poverty with meeting basic human needs such as access to healthy food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

  • The City of San Mateo is currently in the process of implementing a pilot 50-bike bike share program within the City.
  • The City is in the process of analyzing Energy and Green Building Code Reach Codes related to mandatory solar installations and mandatory EV charger installations that would coincide with the adoption of the 2016 code cycle.
  • The City is working on a marketing campaign, called Connect San Mateo, which promotes alternative transportation options within the City.
  • The City is in the process of replacing the landscaping around City Hall with drought tolerant plantings.
  • The City of San Mateo is currently participating in Energy Upgrade California’s CoolCalifornia Challenge. The competition pits 22 California cities against one another to see who can have the most households sign up and track their energy usage, vehicle mileage, and sustainable home renovations. San Mateo is currently in fourth place and has signed up more than 150 households. The top cities will split a $150,000 prize to use towards a local sustainability project. The City of San Mateo plans to use their prize money for a rain barrel rebate program.
  • The City of San Mateo is in the process of constructing a biogas conversion project to covert methane to compressed natural gas at its wastewater treatment plant. The project is the first for a city in California at a waste water treatment plant and will produce biofuel equivalent to 500 gallons of gasoline per day. The City plans to purchase 50 natural gas fleet vehicles that will run off of this fuel source.
  • The City is in the process of replacing over 4,000 streetlights with LED lights. The construction contract was just recently awarded and the work will be completed this calendar year.

Survey – San Mateo

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South San Francisco

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

The City of South San Francisco is a participant in the Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) which is a program to adopt long-term sustainable and holistic approaches to addressing childhood obesity. One of the goals of the program includes healthy eating program and policies.

Addressing hunger/food insecurity, food deserts/swamps, and access to healthy food for all the municipality’s residents

Nutrition Programs – lunch is offered for seniors for a reduced priced on a daily basis (weekdays).

We do not prohibit fast food restaurants, but our zoning code prohibits drive-through facilities which are often ancillary to fast food restaurants and can contribute to unhealthy lifestyles.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

City of SSF has many sustainability programs and projects, many of which are included in our Climate Action Plan (adopted in 2014), and a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. We also have land use and transportation policies to support and incentivize transit-oriented development; transportation demand management (TDM) policies; participation in the PACE program; energy upgrades to municipal facilities; participation in a Community Choice Aggregation program; and, drought-resistant landscaping requirements.

The City also completed a Sustainability Action Plan, aimed at reducing energy, water and waste at municipal facilities. The City has implemented significant municipal water conservation efforts, and reduced our municipal water use by 50%. The City has replaced many street lights and facility lighting with LEDs, in order to save energy. The City also has a Chief Sustainability Officer, in charge of leading and implementing sustainability projects.

Survey – South San Francisco

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Woodside

Projects or efforts to develop a more sustainable food system

Woodside’s predominant low-density land use pattern allows for homeowners to have gardens on their properties to grow food.

Other sustainable programs / projects implemented

Woodside joined Peninsula Clean Energy with all of the other cities in San Mateo County.

The Town recently adopted the updated State Model Efficient Landscape Ordinance. During the recent mandatory cutbacks, Woodside customers did exceed the 36% water reduction target that was set for the CalWater Bear Gulch District.

The Town continues to implement a Safe Routes to School program which seeks to improve access to the Woodside Elementary School. Implementation of the program also encourages walking for non-school related trips within the Town Center.

The Town participates with the Woodside Fire Protection District in the annual Chipper Program, which reduces fire fuel by chipping debris on-site on individual properties. The program also serves to reduce waste by keeping the chips on-site.

The Town now partners with the Town of Portola Valley on the annual earth fair. The theme of the 2016 event was reduction of food waste.

The Town continues to host the annual Sudden Oak Death Blitz which seeks to reduce the spread of the pathogen which spreads the disease and threatens the population of oaks.

Survey – Woodside

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From the 2017 Indicators Report

Between 1989 and 2014, low income wages decreased by 7% and high income wages increased by 27% in San Mateo County.

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